December 2005

Teacher guilty of affair with boy

A teacher from Sussex who kissed a 16-year-old boy and sent him 80 sexy text messages has been spared jail.

English teacher Samantha Grixti, (pictured centre with black hair) aged 30, of Ridgway, Woodingdean, Brighton, also booked a hotel room for the pair, Chichester Magistrates’ Court heard.

She was given a three-month jail term suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid labour.

The couple’s affair was discovered when the boy’s parents noticed his mobile telephone bill had doubled.

Hearts on card

Grixti had admitted intentionally touching a boy aged 16 while being in a position of trust.

The court had heard how she confessed to a colleague at her West Sussex secondary school that she got drunk during a night out in Worthing in May last year and had “got off” with a 16-year-old boy.

She had also told the same colleague how she booked a room for the pair on 16 July at a hotel in Lewes.

Jenny Ross, prosecuting, said the texts from the defendant had expressed love for the boy.

The court heard how the boy’s parents had seen a card addressed to him which was covered in hearts and had the message “S xxx”.

Their son admitted the affair to them, but blamed himself, it was told.

Position of trust

Chairman of the bench Christopher Whitmore-Jones said the court had been “horrified” by the number and content of the text messages sent by Grixti, and the fact that it was planned and carried out over a period of time.

Grixti was suspended from her job as a teacher after she was charged with abusing a position of trust, and will now automatically lose her position.

Anya Lewis, defending, said the suspended jail term would mean the defendant would be required to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Magistrates have not made such an order but are expected to do so on Thursday.

After the hearing on Wednesday, a West Sussex County Council statement said the school had taken the matter “extremely seriously”.

It said: “It was an unacceptable abuse of trust placed in a teacher by young people and parents.

“The school acted very swiftly as soon as the information was received about this incident and Grixti was immediately suspended.”

The school is taking action under agreed disciplinary procedures, the statement added.